Alex Sink and Rick Scott are courting Hispanic voters in their campaigns to become Florida’s next governor.
The Spanish-language weekly El Sentinel reported this weekend:
Even though neither is bilingual Sink and Scott understand the facts: there are 1.4 million registered Hispanic voters in Florida –one of every four voters – according to the Florida Division of Elections. But a few phrases in Spanish are not enough to capture this vote.
“Both candidates must focus con job creation, education and protecting the environment,” said Frank Torres, political consultant in central Florida.
Sylvia Cáceres, former director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Orlando that closed in 2009, agreed.
“To get the Hispanic vote they need to specifically say how many jobs will be for the Hispanic community,” Cáceres said.
A recent Florida International University report indicates unemployment in Florida has had a larger impact on the Hispanic and African American communities.
El Sentinel adds:
The two largest concentrations of Hispanic voters are in South Florida and in the I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa. In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach the majority of Cuban-American voters traditionally support the Republicans, but in recent years they have proved to be more independent.
In Central Florida the majority of Hispanic voters are Puerto Rican, who historically identify with the Democratic Party, but they also cross party lines when it is time to vote.
In the August 24 primaries Rick Scott faced fellow Republican Bill McCollum who received most of the Hispanic vote, especially in South Florida, where columnists and analysts publicly wrote about the negative impact the Republican party’s support for an Arizona style immigration law will have in November.
The candidates will have a busy month of October, when Spanish-speaking communities celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.
Alex Sink launched a Spanish version of her website several months ago.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that both candidates have accepted to a debate hosted by Miami’s Univision affiliate.